June 4th, 2008


[politics] Hillary and Obama

I've never been a Democrat until this year. As a liberal-progressive, I've almost always voted Democratic (except in 2000, when I voted for Nader), but that has more to do with the cancer that the GOP has been on the American body politic in my lifetime — malignant under Nixon, metastatic under Bush 43 — than with any deep commitment to party politics. I registered this year so I could vote for Obama in the Oregon primary.

Earlier in the election cycle I was undecided between the major Democratic contenders, but Hillary and Obama were always my favorites. I tended to lean away from Senator Clinton because of what I perceive as her electability issues. Simply put, the best possible candidate to stimulate Republican fund raising and voter turnout is Hillary — she has far more throw weight with the GOP base as a negative brand than any of their actual candidates, including the increasingly hapless McCain.

Is that her fault? Not that I can see. But it's still a factor.

Up until about this February, I still would have enthusastically supported her in the general. Then the primary season got rolling in earnest, and her expected coronation transformed into a slugfest, whereupon she turned all Rove on us. If I wanted moving goalposts, character assassination by proxy and endless machinations, I'd be a Republican. Win at any cost politics hasn't exactly done America, or the GOP, any favors.

For me, the great moment of this election cycle was when Edwards bowed out, and for the first time in American history, a major political party was not going to run a[n old] white dude for president. Hillary or Obama (and it was still a very open question), that was a huge win for American politics and culture. That's a victory both Senators Clinton and Obama can share in, for all that it is largely symbolic.

Now I want her to shut up and go back to the Senate. Pardon my bluntness, but Hillary's slash-and-burn campaign, coupled with her inability to lose gracefully, have soured me profoundly on her. That's not a comment on her fitness to govern had she prevailed in the primary process, it's a comment on her place in the process. She has worked diligently to poison millions of Democrats against Obama in hopes of reversing her decline of fortunes, feeding their sense of betrayal, of being cheated. I want to trust her to work just as diligently to repair that damage, but I don't. If she stays at the front of the national stage, I can't help but believe it will be to watch like a hawk for a major Obama stumble. Clintons don't give up, after all.

Hillary is the president who might have been, but she pissed away her place in history to game the primaries. Obama is the president who might well be, if his life isn't taken for being the wrong color, and if white America doesn't allow itself to be spooked out of voting for a black man with a funny name.

I am a Democrat now, because I want to see this potential sea change in American politics take hold and become real. Obama carries the political excitement of Reagan without the intellectual fraud of Reaganism. He carries the cultural fire of Kennedy without the mob ties and the speed freakery. I am excited to vote for the first time in my life.
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[cancer|personal] Busy days and wasted nights

Despite an annoying sleep deficit, yesterday went well. Ye Day Jobbe was productive, then I pretended to be a normal human being and went to the coffee house for the first time in a month and a half. Got almost two hours work on Green, along with another hour and change on cleaning up the new jlake.com Web site. Once the_flea_king settles a few minor issues with the podcasting interface, we'll roll it out. Maybe even tomorrow.

Friday is my actual birthday. I will turn 44. (JayCon VIII is of course on Saturday.) Friday is also the four week anniversary of my cancer surgery. All indications are that I am recovering beautifully. Today I have a genetic counseling appointment to run down some low-probability but scary stuff related to early-onset colon cancer. After that I'm going to go watch an attempt to set a world record for largest baking soda volcano, then back to work. Expect appropriate blogging if I make it to the boom-boom in time.

Yesterday lasirenadolce went out and bought me a recliner. We'd been thinking about this since before I got sick, actually, and all the advice from you guys made the point. She even hauled it in and set it up solo, which definitely qualifies her as a Hero of the Revolution, and continues my reign of terror as Useless Git #1.

I also broke down and took a hydromorphone when I went to bed last night. This gave me almost four hours' sleep, but when I woke up at 1 to take a second one, I never really found my way back. Spent the second half of the night on the recliner, which was very comfortable and restful, but not especially conducive to sleep. I'm going to email my doctor about the possibility of Ambien or something similar to use until I'm finished being stuck sleeping on my back, since popping opiates to get some shut-eye seems excessive.

[links] Link salad Wednesday crouton

Heaven is an amusement park that never closes — Stale cotton candy for all eternity? No thanks.

The Silver Thief — Interesting true crime article, and character study.

Writing for money — A review of a book about Mark Twain and the economics of being an author.

Shorpy with a fascinating photo of a fortune teller — A character study in one frame.

Squaring the many sides of John McCain — Mmm. Straight Talk Express my ass.

Me on Hillary and Obama — At least he didn't follow her one-candidate race to the bottom.
Also, thanks to whoever sent me the virtual balloons, and my thanks also to jeffsoesbe for the CDs.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night's weigh-out: n/a
This morning's weigh-in: 259.6
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]


[personal] Credit card fraud, again

Another $2,000+ credit card fraud attempt hit my WAMU account this morning. That's the second in about six weeks.

Thing is, this time it's against the new credit card number issued to me after I closed my prior account due to the previous fraud event. The new card has sat in my desk drawer with the little sticker still on it, not activated or used in any way. No telephone shopping, no Web sites, no POS transactions.

Which means that the thief either broke into my house, copied down the info on this one credit card without disturbing anything in my office and left again; or WAMU's credit card data is insecure on their systems. There's simply no other way the number could have gotten out except a hack against WAMU.

When I tried to explain this to the fraud agent, she wasn't interested. Not in the script. So I talked to customer service and closed the account permanently. There's no point in having another card re-issued if their back end is insecure. She wasn't interested either. Also not in the script.

I very strongly suggest that if you have a WAMU credit card you close it immediately. They are not able to keep customer financial data secure, and they aren't interested in hearing from customers about the problem.

[cancer|personal] Semirandom updatery

lasirenadolce took me to the geneticist appointment today. It was interesting, and a slightly off-kilter session, because they're obviously used to dealing with people who never took a biology class and haven't done any research. The outcome was more blood was taken and sent to Utah to evaluate for a small set of genetic issues linked to early-onset colon cancer. It will be a few weeks before I know more.
Other than the surgical recovery and the continued followups with the CR surgeon, that's the last issue hanging fire in this little cancer adventure. As I said before, low-probability but spooky.

Afterwards she dropped me at MHCC to witness the world's largest the baking soda volcano. I'll blog that tomorrow, when my IQ rises above room temperature, but it was fun. I hung out with joshenglish, AH, tillyjane and The Niece, after which tillyjane rolled me home.

When the day job wrapped, I collapsed into the new recliner and promptly crashed hard into deep REM sleep for about three hours. This has completely fogged my pea brain. No work on Green today, not much of anything frankly. If the sleep situation doesn't at least partially remedy tonight, I'm going to call the doctor's office for help tomorrow. Thank you everyone for the suggestions and comments on that.

As always, more to come.